Sometimes, all it takes is a seed…
What started as a way to make a few extra bucks for one man and his family has grown into a three generation, family owned and operated, wholesale flower business. If you were able to take a leap back in time, you would be surprised to see how far it has come.
In 1957, D&D Farms was started by Richard Taranto with seven greenhouses and over 200 acres of corn, tomatoes, squash, beans and pumpkins. Ten years later, color began popping up in the greenhouses. Richie began planting pansies between the rows of tomatoes that filled his greenhouses. Annuals, geraniums and hanging baskets started sharing space with the usual crop that the greenhouses had originally been built for. Demand for the bedding plants and flowering baskets grew every year. Soon, more greenhouses were needed and more space was necessary. So in 1973, Richie moved his family to their current home in Stow, MA, and began producing more of the quality plant products for which his reputation was growing wider. Every few years, new greenhouses were built, and gradually, agriculture was outpaced by his booming horticulture business. By 1988, agriculture had become almost solely replaced by the emergence of what has become the “bread and butter” of D&D Farms: wholesale flower sales.
Almost from the beginning, his two twin sons, Dan and Don, were side by side helping their father in the fields, making deliveries to customers, building greenhouses, and learning what it takes to produce the right flower. Then in 1990, ownership was passed by Richie to the two, and with it, the start of updating to gutter-connected greenhouses, production-line planting and more modernized watering and growing systems were installed. Since, Dan and Don have seen both the growth of their own families as well as the exponential growth of the family business.
Today the business has expanded to over 140,000 sq. ft of greenhouse growing area for pansies, perennials, annuals, mixed and flowering hanging baskets, 4” and 6” crops and flowering mums and asters. We have just recently finished building a new Westbrook Skyline II gutter-connected, glass open roof designed greenhouse and plug operation/production facility. We are constantly challenging ourselves to improve everything from production to appearance, but quality plants and service is still, and will always be, the number one priority and expectation from everyone at D&D Farms.
We sow all our own seedlings from pansies and perennials to the ever-growing selection of flowering annuals. Our vegetative material and mums come from the cuttings we root ourselves. We feel this enables us to best observe and then choose from the best quality product possible. Our growth has been partially responsible from the choice of best performing flowers we can provide to our garden center customers and the knowledge we have gained by learning from our own mistakes.
Over the years, we at D&D Farms continue to test, expand and even change the products grown at our farm to give our customers a chance to carry and sell different items to their own customers and to help extend their growing and selling seasons. We have dropped some of the more common products grown, such as geraniums, to add newer, more exciting items, such as Nemesia, Osteospermum and Potunias. Our most popular items have been early potted pansies and violas, 4” pots and mixed hanging baskets with vegetative materials, bedding plant pack containers, 6 ½” pots and our ever-expanding line of fall hardy chrysanthemums.
Anyone who has stopped by the operation during the always-hectic growing season knows to keep pace with our family requires a pair of racing sneakers and two busy hands (to help while talking).
Like many successful businesses, change has been inevitable. But hard work, dedicated and committed help, and quality flowers have been and will continue to be the backbone of this successful family business story.